[ This report does not
necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
HARARE, 15 Sep
2004 (IRIN) - A strike over low wages on a farm earning hard currency,
acquired by a government parastatal, has underlined the precarious existence
of Zimbabwe's farm workers.
The horticultural farm at Kondozi in the
eastern province of Manicaland was reportedly seized by armed men in April
on behalf of the Agricultural Rural Development Authority (ARDA), despite
the property being designated an Export Processing Zone and therefore not
liable for compulsory acquisition.
ARDA slashed the workforce from the
5,000 prior to the occupation to around 150, and reclassified those as basic
labourers entitled to a lower wage, according to the General and Allied
Plantation Workers Union (GAPWUZ).
"They were initially agro-based
workers receiving about Zim $130,000 [US $23] per month because they are
involved in processing, but ARDA turned them into general agricultural
workers and is paying them Zim $72,800 [US $13] - that's why they had to
engage in this industrial action," GAPWUZ official Gift Muti told
Some 1,500 workers living on the farm were displaced by the farm
takeover, and around 3,500 from outlying areas lost their
According to a report released last month by Refugees
International, a pattern of displacement has accompanied the government's
controversial land reform programme since it began in 2000, creating a
population of more than 150,000 homeless former farm workers.
government of Zimbabwe refuses to acknowledge that their implementation of
the land redistribution programme has caused forced displacement. To further
compound the issue, governmental authorities have increasingly restricted
access to farming areas by humanitarian agencies and independent analysts,
making it difficult for the displaced and other vulnerable groups to access
humanitarian assistance," said the report.
Displacement has also been due
to economic conditions on the redistributed farms, Refugees International
noted. It identified five groups: people "internally" trapped, who are
unable to leave the farms; people displaced temporarily to forested or
uncultivated areas; returnees to communal areas; peri-urban squatters; and
refugees and economic migrants.
Some have found employment with the newly
resettled farmers, but the relationship has been hit-and-miss, said GAPWUZ.
A number of new farmers have been able to afford the minimum wage, with
others offering payment in kind. Out-of-work former farm labourers who have
stayed in the rural areas have turned to the informal sector, selling
produce or panning for gold.
Refugees International called on the
government to acknowledge the vulnerability of former farm workers and allow
humanitarian agencies to provide direct assistance to them. It also
recommended the formation of mixed needs assessment teams with local NGOs,
investment in skills training and education for those farm workers who have
not been retained in the commercial agriculture sector, and to provide them
with access to land.
The report also called on the government and the
United Nations to jointly undertake a comprehensive vulnerability assessment
in the commercial farming areas, rural communal lands and informal
IRIN was unable to get a comment from Zimbabwe's ministry of
Zimbabwe: Mugabe Appoints Committee to Prepare for General
Election Peta Thornycroft Harare 15 Sep 2004, 17:46
Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, has appointed a committee to
oversee voting boundaries for the general election next year. The opposition
says appointment of the committee, without consultation, is a violation of
electoral principles that Mr. Mugabe agreed to at a recent regional
summit. Mr. Mugabe has appointed high court Judge George Chiweshe to head a
commission to draw up constituency boundaries for the general election next
March. Mr. Chiweshe's impartiality has long been questioned by legal
analysts and human rights lawyers.
Zimbabwe's main opposition, the
Movement for Democratic Change, or MDC, charged that the Mugabe-appointed
commission will not be impartial.
The MDC's legal secretary, David
Coltart, said Mr. Mugabe had agreed, at the recent Southern African
Development Community summit, that next year's election would be overseen by
impartial electoral authorities to ensure that it would be free and fair.
Creation of the new commission, Mr. Coltart says, goes against what Mr.
Mugabe signed on to.
In August, the MDC said it had suspended
participation in all elections until the government reformed election laws
and repeals what it terms repressive media and security laws.
is concerned about the drawing up of voting districts in Zimbabwe. It says
establishing voting boundaries is vital to a fair election because most
urban dwellers support the opposition, and many rural areas support the
ruling ZANU-PF. In the disputed presidential elections of 2002, hundreds of
thousands of potential urban voters were refused registration or were turned
away on polling day.
Reginald Matchaba Hove, chairman of the
non-governmental organization Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network, said the
appointment of the commission, without consultation, was a betrayal of the
commitment Mr. Mugabe made at the SADC summit to adhere to its electoral
September 15, 2004 Posted to the web September 15,
VISITING Angolan Minister of Social Communication Mr
Hendrick Vaal Neto yesterday described the media as a vital element in the
stabilisation of a country in times of war and an instrument for national
reconciliation for peace and democracy.
Speaking at a meeting between
representatives of the Zimbabwean and Angolan public media, Mr Neto said the
media in his country played an important role in bringing harmony after the
end of hostilities between his Government and Unita rebels.
emphasise here that when we talk of the media, we are also referring to the
private media, which, in Angola has expanded significantly, particularly
concerning the written Press and radio, which have played a crucial role in
the process of consolidation of democracy," he said.
Mr Neto said
information played an important role in the process of integration and
co-operation between Southern African Development Community (Sadc) member
"Therefore, a qualitative and quantitative strengthening of
co-operation between our countries is needed in the specific area of the
media, the only means by which we can reduce geographical distances and
overcome differences," he said.
"We cannot hope the foreign media,
managed largely by the great powers with their own interests, who are often
self-serving, will come to our aid so as to implement this
Co-operation between Zimbabwe and Angola, the minister
said, should be based on distribution of information and journalists,
professional training and training courses, exchange of trainers and
technical assistance and coverage of events.
He said Sadc had to
preserve its fundamental values that defined its African identity and
Speaking at the same meeting, the Minister of State for Information
and Publicity in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Professor Jonathan
Moyo, said developing countries should never expect the world media to tell
their own stories.
"As developing countries, we have challenges of
resources. It is, therefore, prudent for us to leverage our resources and,
taking advantage of digital opportunities that we can use, to communicate
not only to tell our story, but to also empower our people so that they can
celebrate their identity and be proud about their uniqueness," he
Prof Moyo said Zimbabwe and Angola shared the same history of a
liberation struggle which brought about independence.
"So, we have
common liberation routes and it is from these routes that we have, as a
people, established liberation regimes and we are proud of the
Prof Moyo said it was through the media and information that
the two countries could share experiences.
"Cde Minister, you will
recall that during the liberation struggle we had a challenge of telling our
own story because the conventional media was not interested in us telling
our own story," he said.
"When they told our story, it was distorted,
they misrepresented it and in the end the liberators had to tell their story
outside conventional media. It was not through the BBCs and CNNs of this
world or such other media, but it was through person to person, fighting and
living with the community they were living in."
Earlier during the
day, the Angolan minister and his delegation visited the National Heroes
Acre and Hangaite Farm near Bindura in Mashonaland Central Province to see
the success story of the land reform programme.
Mr Neto said the
impression he got after visiting the farms was that Zimbabwe was poised for
a bright future.
Mr Neto and his delegation are today expected to tour
Zimpapers and New Ziana and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the
two countries is expected to be signed by the two ministers.
would be on co-operation in communication, professional training and
training courses and exchange of trainers, among other areas.
Full dams of no use to parched Harare folk September 15
2004 at 01:02PM
More than half of Harare's four million residents
are either chronically short of water or without any at all, two weeks ahead
of the hottest month of the year.
Hardest hit are the poorest,
many of whom now have to endure raw sewage running past their
Nowhere in Zimbabwe is the incompetence of the ruling
Zanu-PF administration more visible than in the crumbling infrastructure in
what was once one of Africa's neatest cities.
feeding the city are full, they are polluted by untreated sewage. This week
Psychology Chiwanga, the director of works at the Harare Municipality, said
water would be cut off every afternoon until the situation
He also announced the municipality had borrowed about
R48-million from the government to revamp the infrastructure which has been
allowed to crumble for the past 24 years.
But sources in the
water and sewerage department, which falls under Chiwanga, said much more
money was needed to revamp Zimbabwe's water purification and distribution
In fact, they said, there would be no end in sight to
Harare's water woes until the government completed the Kunzvi Dam whose
construction has not even started despite having been commissioned five
"We need an alternative source to Lake Chivero (which
supplies Harare) and, if resources permitted, a whole new and modern
purification and distribution system should be installed at the new
alternative source," said one engineer.
He said the water
purification and distribution infrastructure in Harare had broken down and
it had become extremely difficult to treat and maintain pure water till it
gets to the end user.
The distribution piping was so old and
ill-maintained that 35 percent to 40 percent of purified water was lost to
Another engineer said: "They should at the
very least allocate more resources to enable us to undertake a comprehensive
leak detection exercise. Unfortunately all the resources are being spent on
debts and water treatment chemicals that are also in short
For people in the high density suburbs, that means little,
as they have taken the law into their own hands.
"People dug a
hole in the municipality's pipe under the ground, and we take the water from
there. If we don't we will die," said Masimba Chayemba, 17, with a group of
about 40 residents in Mabvuku township 20km south-east of the city. -
[ This report does not necessarily reflect the
views of the United Nations]
BULAWAYO, 15 Sep 2004 (IRIN) - The
animal disease control department of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) has endorsed a US $2 million loan to Zimbabwe in an effort
to curb the spread of foot-and-mouth (FMD) and other
Zimbabwe has experienced sporadic outbreaks of FMD in the past
few years, but has failed to bring it under control due to a lack of cash to
"The department was assured of the facility by SADC
officials and it is hoped that the funds will assist in the buying of
relevant doses to contain the foot-and-mouth disease and other related
animal diseases," the director of Zimbabwe's veterinary services, Stuart
Hargreaves, told the state media.
The loan is part of a US $10 million
SADC scheme to help member states combat livestock diseases. Other countries
that would benefit from the project were Botswana and Malawi, Hargreaves
said, as both countries had experienced similar outbreaks in recent
Authorities in Zimbabwe welcomed the move, noting that some of the
money would be used to construct dip tanks and put in place infrastructure
for newly resettled farmers who had benefited from the land reform
programme, which began four years ago.
"There is a need to assist new
players who have since adopted a beef rebuilding programme," added
Zimbabwe, once a major supplier of beef to the European Union
(EU) was forced to halt exports a few years ago when FMD began to take its
toll. It has failed to resume the trade, as the disease remains endemic in
parts of the country.
But according to Malvern Muleya, a veterinary
specialist in southern Zimbabwe, the area hardest hit by FMD and an outbreak
of anthrax, the SADC loan was too little to make an impact.
welcome move, yes, but I don't think it [the money] will help a great deal
because there is so much that needs to be done to make sure FMD and other
diseases, like anthrax and tick-borne [ones], are brought under total
subjugation. What the government probably needs to do is to mobilise for
more resources and start providing chemicals to peasants farmers to dip
their cattle," Muleya told IRIN.
Muleya said the government stopped
providing small-scale farmers with vaccines and dipping chemicals two years
Last year alone experts reported that a combination of FMD and
recurring drought had killed more than 50,000 animals in Matabeleland South
province, on the border with Botswana. The region, which is Zimbabwe's
principal beef producer, has suffered sporadic cases of FMD over the
Zimbabwe's inflation rates falls September 15 2004 at
Harare - Zimbabwe's year-on-year inflation fell to 314
percent in August, less than half its January peak of 623 percent, according
to official figures issued on Wednesday.
The state Central
Statistical Office said August's inflation fell 49 percent from 362 percent
in July and marked the seventh consecutive month that the rate had
Prices between July and August rose five percent, compared
with 10 percent the previous month, it said.
the year-on-year rate is still one of the highest in the world.
Inflation has been accelerating since 2000 when a campaign of violent
repression by the regime of President Robert Mugabe triggered economic
Since then, gross domestic product has fallen 30
percent, winning Zimbabwe the distinction of having the world's fastest
shrinking economy, while the value of the currency has plummeted to a
hundredth of its previous value while unemployment soared to 80
The government claims that a clampdown on financial
racketeering and tough new monetary policy has started an economic
turnaround. It forecasts inflation will fall below 200 percent by the end of
The International Monetary Fund has said however that the
principal causes of inflation, chiefly reckless state spending, arbitrary
government controls and the flight of foreign investment remain unchanged,
and warns that little change can be expected until issues of political
governance are deal with.
On Tuesday, Mugabe announced that the
government would soon seize half of the shareholdings of mining companies.
He was quoted in the state-controlled daily Herald on Wednesday as saying
the government was moving to control the mining and manufacturing sectors
that allegedly had been sabotaged by greedy individuals.
Agriculture, the backbone of what five years ago was, after South Africa,
the continents most robust and diverse economy, has collapsed since 2000
when Mugabe ordered the illegal seizure of productive white-owned farm
International aid agencies say the country is entering
its third successive year of famine. - Sapa-dpa
Zim mines 'heading for doom' 15/09/2004 08:13 -
Harare - Zimbabwe's planned interference in
the privately run mining sector could spell the end to the country's only
remaining prosperous sector, observers said on Tuesday.
reports that government of President Robert Mugabe will soon lay claim to
half ownership of all the country's privately-owned mines.
In the process
Mugabe will be shifting his focus on local ownership of the country's
resources from land to the mining sector.
He told attendees at an awards
ceremony at a rural school: "There can be no absolute ownership of natural
resources in Zimbabwe.
"Land is not the only issue that needs reform.
There are still many other issues we have to address, like the mining
"We will ask that government be given a 50% share in the
According to the state-owned The Herald Mugabe said in countries
such as Botswana, mining activities may not start before government owns
half of the mine.
And to back up the plan, Zimbabwe recently had new
mining legislation published, which stipulates that 49% of all mines must
have local ownership.
Observers say Mugabe's latest statement is expected
to raise a great deal of controversy, especially among the international
mining companies that do business in that country.
South Africa's Impala Platinum, Rio Tinto from Britain, Delta Gold from
Australia and Falcon Gold from Luxemburg.
In reaction to the legislation,
Impala Platinum, a majority shareholder in Zimbabwe's Zimplats said it would
hold back on the R4.7bn expansions it had in the pipeline until a specific
agreement could be put in place between South Africa and Zimbabwe that
addressed things like ownership.
AngloGold Ashanti, another South
African-based resources group, announced last Friday that it would be
selling its Zimbabwean operations to a local company, Mwana
According to observers the planned interference in the privately
run mining sector, could mean the end of this prosperous
Mguni Menzanise, an economist, said the mining sector was the
only one in Zimbabwe that remained dynamic despite the problems it
He said that if government took over the mining sector, it
could have devastating effects.
A number of mines that were
controlled by the state's Zimbabwe Minerals Development Corporation have
already been forced to shut down because of mismanagement.
just look at what government did to its own mines to see a good example of
how to run things into the ground," Menzanise said.
suggested to government that the 49% empowerment plan be lowered to 40% and
that foreign companies be allowed to look for black, local shareholders over
a period of time.
James Makamba loses multi-billion
property - fined Z$7m for dealing in forex
Businessman James Makamba has lost his multi-billion-dollar
investment at the Mazowe farm he was leasing from the government, following
an eviction notice served on him last week. A letter from the Department of
Special Affairs in charge of Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement in the
President's Office, said Makamba should vacate the farm in Mazowe District
with immediate effect. However, he has seven days to contest the decision to
contest the withdrawal of the government's offer of the farm to him and he
has already done so. Yesterday, he wrote a letter to the government
contesting the decision. It never rains but pours for the Zanu PF Central
Committee member, who was also slapped with a $7,3 million fine for
illegally dealing in foreign currency. The State has since lodged an appeal
against Makamba's acquittal on charges of externalising millions of dollars.
In a letter dated September 8 and signed by the Minister of Agriculture and
Rural Development, Joseph Made, Makamba was notified of the government's
withdrawal of its offer letter for Maryvale Estate to Makamba. Made signed
on behalf of the Minister of Special Affairs, John Nkomo, who was said to be
on leave. "Pleased be advised that the Ministry of Special Affairs in the
President's Office in charge of Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement is
withdrawing the offer of land made to you in subdivision of Maryvale Estate
Farm in Mazoe District in Mashonaland Central. "You are forthwith required
to cease all or any operations that you may have commenced thereon and
immediately vacate the said piece of land," read Made's letter. It did not
give any reasons why the land was being taken away.
said to have borrowed $5 billion dollars from the Commercial Bank of
Zimbabwe when he built the state-of-the-art Blue Ridge Spar Mazowe
Supermarket, which was officially opened by Vice President Joseph Msika
early this year. The debt has since escalated to more than $9 billion, after
his family failed to service it when Makamba was in custody for the better
part of this year. Makamba is resisting the order to move and has since made
representations to Nkomo's department. He said he had done everything to
satisfy the requirements for farmers allocated land under the land reform
programme to be allowed to stay on the farm by working productively on it.
"We have done more than that," said Makamba, who also contested that he had
been allocated another farm in Mashonaland East. Information availed to this
paper yesterday indicate that Makamba harvested 394 bales of cotton last
year and will be recognised for this achievement at a function to be held
soon. He also harvested 17 tonnes of sugar beans, 225 tonnes of seed maize,
180 tonnes of soya beans and 35 tonnes of commercial maize. Makamba still
has 50 hectares of wheat about to mature and 10 hectares of cabbages.
Preparations to plant soya beans are already under way. Contesting that he
had been allocated another farm in Mashonaland East, Makamba's family
claimed that the only other property he owned was a plot he bought around
1999 along Mutoko Road, after accessing a loan from the Commercial Bank of
Zimbabwe. The government had also shown no interest in it. According to the
family, the government order to vacate the premises would see 397 farm and
shop employees losing their jobs.
MDC, CIVIL SOCIETY and 2005 ELECTIONS – WHITHER
THURSDAY 23 Sept 5.30 for 6.00 – 8.00 pm MT PLEASANT
Isaac MATONGO – National Chairman, MDC Dr Lovemore MADHUKU
–Chairman, NCA Mr ZAMCHIYA – President, ZINASU-UZ Mike DAVIES – Chairman,
CHRA - to confirm Mrs DANDAJENA –Chairwoman Harare Province, MDC Trudy
STEVENSON – MDC MP Harare North –
Host ........................................ A New Zimbabwe, A New
Beginning ***** Please pass this message on to
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Plane Forfeited in Accordance With International Law - AG
September 15, 2004 Posted to the web September 15,
THE Attorney-General's Office yesterday said the
forfeiture to the State of the Boeing 727-100, which brought the convicted
mercenaries to Zimbabwe in March en route to the Equatorial Guinea to
allegedly stage a coup, is based on international law.
magistrate Mr Mishrod Guvamombe ordered the forfeiture of the plane last
week when he sentenced the leader of the mercenaries, British national Simon
Francis Mann, to seven years in jail, two pilots of the plane to 16 months
in jail and the other 65 mercenaries to 12 months in prison.
Attorney-General Mr Bharat Patel said the forfeiture of the plane was
according to the law and it now follows that the plane belongs to the
Government of Zimbabwe.
"As far as our laws are concerned, we applied
for the forfeiture of the plane and it was granted by the court," said Mr
He said any material that was used in the commission of a crime
could be forfeited to the State if the court grants such an
"However, if anyone has an interest in the forfeiture, they have
up to three years to apply for the reversal of such forfeiture," said Mr
Mr Patel said such persons have to prove that they did not know
that the plane was to be used in the commission of a crime.
Boeing 727-100 plane, worth about US$3 million and the US$180 000 the
mercenaries had on them were forfeited to the State after their
The plane is registered in the United
Investigations showed that it was operated by the United States
Air Force as an element of the National Guard from 1985 to 2002.
was purchased by National Airlines from Boeing in 1964 and then sold to
Intercredit Corp by PanAm in 1985.
It was then sold by Intercredit to
Boeing Military Airplane Company.
On October 3 1985, Boeing sold the
plane to US General Services Administration.
On January 1 2002, US
General Services Administration sold the cargo plane to Dodson International
Parts, which in turn sold it to Dodson Aviation on January 4
The plane was seized after its crew made a false declaration at
Harare International Airport.
When it was impounded by authorities,
the plane was carrying a consignment of six AK-47 assault rifles and 45 000
rounds of ammunition, some Browning pistols, 20 KPM light machine-guns and
30 rounds of ammunition.
It was also carrying rocket-propelled grenades
and anti-tank weapons, 2x60mm mortar tubes, 80x60mm mortar bombs, 1 500 hand
grenades and 20 Icarus flares.
When sentencing the mercenaries,
provincial magistrate Mr Guvamombe said only the men's personal belongings
would not be forfeited.
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's
son, Mark Thatcher, has been named in the alleged coup plot and has been
arrested and questioned by authorities in South Africa.
suspects are standing trial in Equatorial Guinea for the attempted coup
They were arrested two days after authorities in Zimbabwe nabbed
the mercenaries when their plane made a stopover to pick up weapons in